I know it's a bit big for personal "kit" but I thought I'd pass along some news we got from our friends with the 3rd Battalion, 187th Infantry with whom we spend nearly two weeks embedded in Afghanistan last month.
You might have seen a story I filed from the field that ran on Military.com about how Army commanders aren't letting Joes off the base in vehicles unless they're in MRAPs or M-ATVs.
I got some flack from Oshkosh and the normally silent Marine Corps Systems Command when I wrote that Soldiers think the M-ATV doesn't give much more protection than an up-armored Humvee. Though I did say most Joes told me they'd prefer to ride in M-ATVs than MRAPs or Humvees.
Can't please everyone all the time...
Well, the bottom line is I'm here to report M-ATVs save lives. And the vehicle saved the lives of some of our friends with 3-187. The battalion commander told us that the other day our friends with the battalion scouts (who are totally awesome) and some Joes from C Company got hit in three different IED attacks in one day. All were riding in M-ATVs and seven troopers were wounded. All but two returned to duty the same day.
Look, Ward and I rode in MRAPs and M-ATVs the entire time we were there. I greatly prefer the M-ATV but I will say, in a counterinsurgency environment I'm still dubious about MRAP-like vehicles because they separate you more from the population than Humvees do. I clearly am not going to win this argument and news from the front reinforces that.